The zombie movie has its protagonists battling in a variety of ways and places -- but I don't think any of these have been on the train before.  The South Korean horror movie Train to Busan takes a more claustrophobic -- and emotional -- take on the zombie uprising.

Seok-woo (Yoo Gong) is a hedge fund manager whose obsession with work has led to the end of his marriage -- and a great emotional distance with his young daughter, Soo-an (Soo-an Kim).  When he really blows things for her birthday, Soo-an insists on getting to visit her mother in the southern town of Busan.  So Seok-woo gets them train tickets, expecting to drop her off in about an hour.  The train has a variety of people: a tough guy and his very pregnant wife, a high school baseball team (including a shy guy and the cheerleader who teases him), a pair of elderly sisters, and several others.
Unfortunately, what should have been a quick trip is substantially changed by... zombies!  The infected are snarling, feral, disjointed, fast creatures who bite at the non-infected -- and who turn them into zombies within seconds.  In less than a day South Korea is a shambles, with massive devastation and military quarantine zones.  And it's hard to know what is worse for the passengers on the train: the possibility of being stuck in close quarters with a zombie, or the stops at train station, where the quiet is often broken by the attack of dozens, or even hundreds, of zombies.
While Train to Busan doesn't reinvent the zombie movie, it is a very effective entry in the genre.  There's an ongoing theme of altruism vs. selfishness, where people wanting to save everyone risk more, while those looking out only for themselves seem to last a lot longer.  These fast zombies are pretty scary, and even their one weakness just creates more tension.  The actors are all good, and the movie is quite unpredictable when it comes to telling who'll survive until the end of the movie (though the survivors' numbers get whittled down very quickly).  Train to Busan has scares, tears, and it'll stay with you long after the train ride ends.
Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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